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A Cleaner World Blog

There is something special about holiday linens, especially when they are gifts or heirlooms handed down from a prior generation.  Unfortunately, accidents happen, even on holidays, so it is important to know how to properly care for your table linens. 

General Care Tips

  • If a spill occurs during dinner or an event, gently blot then let it be.  Never rub a spill; doing so could push the substance further into the fabric.  Immediately after your event, pre-treat or soak then wash according to the care label.
  • If the spill is oil-based, like salad dressing, butter, or gravy, drop it off with a professional.  Oil-based stains are difficult to remove in the home washing machine, but dry cleaning removes them easily.
  • Water-based stains, like coffee, wine, or soda, are likely removed with proper treatment in the home washing machine provided the item is not dry clean only.
  • When cleaning table linens at home, consider the item’s age and condition.  If it appears fragile, has stained or damaged areas, or decorative trim, consider consulting a professional.
  • Never store table linens without cleaning them first.  Invisible stains will oxidize and appear over time, and the longer a stain is left untreated, the more difficult it is to remove.  In addition, insects and critters are attracted to soiled items. 
  • Store clean linens in a cool, dry location.

Antique or Heirloom Linens

  • Before you decide to clean your great-Grandma’s tablecloth, check the quality of the fabric.  Some fabric might be so delicate or brittle that handwashing yourself could result in damage.  If you discover holes or weak areas during your inspection, send them to a professional instead of caring for them at home. 
  • When taking antique linens to a professional, let them know the age, fiber content, and storage method.  Doing so will help them determine the proper cleaning method.
  • If you choose to clean an heirloom piece yourself, A Cleaner World recommends handwashing only.  Be sure to inspect the item for damage first, and test for colorfastness (checking to see if a color runs or fades when cleaned) before proceeding.  Handwash in cold water using a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly, do not wring or twist, and air dry. 

Lace Items

  • Lace can be made from cotton, linen, ramie, and polyester.  Crocheting, knitting, embroidering, and cut work are the most common methods used to create lace for tablecloths.
  • Before caring for lace items at home, check for holes and loss of tensile strength (gently pull the fabric in one direction and then the other.  If it feels like it could tear or pull apart, it is likely too fragile to clean) before washing. 
  • Before washing, measure the tablecloth.  Many laces shrink with cleaning and will need to be blocked back to their original size.
  • If the item is not too fragile, machine wash with a mild detergent on gentle.  Very fragile tablecloths should be soaked with no agitation in a mild detergent, followed by two rinses, and light extraction.

Most table linens require some sort of special handling, whether it is from age, ornate details, or sheer size.  Let A Cleaner World remove this difficult and cumbersome job from your to-do list by simply dropping your holiday linens off at one of our convenient locations or placing it in your home laundry bag for our delivery service

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